Friday, June 20, 2014

The Schmuck

The general meaning of schmuck is a fool or idiot.  That's not what I'm inferring when I call myself or someone else a schmuck.  It's my way of saying, "You're someone who gives beyond what is right, just and healthy for your own existence."  In the Penny Vital Dictionary of Awesome Words, the abridged version, a schmuck is someone who gives of themselves foolishly, whole heartedly and with abandonment.  Sounds lovely, right?

Not always.

More often than not, a schmuck attracts a sponge.  A sponge is someone who soaks up the love, the gifts and the adoration from the schmuck and gets fluffier, fatter, fuller....without truly returning the favor. A sponge isn't necessarily corrupt in their essence nor taking these sacrifices with ill-intent, but is more or less ignorant of just how much it might be costing the schmuck to give it.  Whether that ignorance is feigned or genuine, that depends on the sponge.

As a former schmuck, I dated a lot of sponges in my life.  They reveled in how much I gave, contributed and sacrificed....all in the name of love and wanting to be loved.  And when it was over, I was in debt, full of resentment and feeling like I had been robbed.  However, everything that they had taken, I had freely gifted.

Over the course of my life, I have become to understand that resentment is a metaphorical destination and it takes your willingness to place yourself within its confines.  So I usually reroute myself these days.  I just go around or avoid it altogether.  When I give of myself, I proceed with a healthy measure of caution and discretion.

I no longer date or interact with sponges.  In fact, I married a schmuck.  He is the most loving, giving, self-sacrificing person I have ever met.  And the greatest way I can love him back is to limit his giving.  I don't need him to pay my bills.  I have my own job.  I don't need him to buy me expensive things or trips.  I pay for my stuff and I can pay my way.  My husband can love me in so many more ways without me depleting his funds or starting a precedence that my happiness relies on what or how much he gives me.  It's not his job to make my life easy or happy.  It's just his job to love me and be my best friend.

This train of thought stemmed from a Huffington Post article I read this week, titled Three Pieces Of Marriage Advice You Should Actually Listen To, by Michael Griswold.  Within the article comes this excerpt:

Marriage takes sacrifice: Saying that marriage takes sacrifice isn't exactly "stop the presses, breaking news"; most people are aware of this. But, what they might not be aware of is that both parties should sacrifice as equally as possible. Sacrificing in marriage isn't the problem — most things in life take sacrifice. But, when one partner sacrifices as often as a pitcher bunting with a runner on first and the other partner sacrifices almost never, you run into problems. This isn't to say there needs to be a tally (one sacrifice for me, one for you), but it should be as fair as possible. Good marriage relationship advice is to be cognizant of who is sacrificing more (or making the bigger sacrifices) and put forth an effort to even things out.

In essence, a necessary sacrifice is an ok thing as long as it's not an everyday thing.  And if you are dating a schmuck, know when to say no and have them scale's the greatest way you can express your profound love for them.